MANILA, Philippines – How India can help the Philippines improve access to cheaper medicines was a major talking point in the bilateral meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, November 13.
Medicines made by India, said to be cheaper than those by American pharmaceutical companies, was the first thing Duterte brought up in their talks held at the Philippine International Convention Center.
“I’m more interested, really, in the medicines because we are a poor country, but you know how it is with America,” said Duterte.
He spoke of how American branded medicines are much more expensive compared to the generic medicine produced by India.
India is the largest provider of generic medicine, accounting for 20% of global exports, based on volume.
Duterte said he would invite Indian pharmaceutical companies to do business in the Philippines so their products can be made available to Filipinos.
“We might invite you to [make] a visit to the Philippines and some of the guys who maybe would want to invest there. And we would [be] happy to see you building an investment that would include the medicines,” he told Modi.
Duterte also expressed admiration for India’s automobile industry. Mahindra, a major Indian automobile company, has a strong presence in the Philippines. Duterte said even the Philippine National Police is using Mahindra vehicles.
“I think even the National Police is using Mahindra, it’s the one that’s being used and there are a lot of them. I think there are new – almost 1,000 and it’s good and it’s being used now,” said the Philippine leader.
Modi, in turn, thanked Duterte for meeting with him and congratulated him for organizing the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Related Summits in a “very nice way”. – Rappler.com